Farmer beaten, tied to tree then shot
Alta Snyman, Beeld
Mahikeng - A 77-year-old farmer who was murdered on his farm near Stella over the weekend was badly assaulted, tied to a tree and then shot dead, North West police say.
The body of Hendrik Johannes (Boet) Cilliers was found at 19:00 on Sunday near his farmhouse, after his bakkie was found abandoned on a nearby road.
He had lived on the farm all his life. It is situated about 15km from Stella on the road to Mahikeng.
Police spokesperson Captain Aafje Bothma confirmed that there was a gunshot wound on the forehead.
According to Jaco Scholtz from Stella, Cilliers’s legs were tied up and he was badly assaulted.
Scholtz said Theo Scholtz, one of his neighbours, had found the white Nissan 1400 bakkie on the road about 3km from Erfdeel. He called the police.
Several other people who had seen the bakkie had also called the police and driven to the farm. They saw the house was a mess but there was no sign of Cilliers. He was later found about 30 metres from the house.
Fond of children
Cilliers was a widower and lived alone.
His family suspects he was attacked while mending a fence on the farm.
"[He] usually had money with him and there was nothing on him when he was found,” said Jaco Scholtz.
Cilliers had three children, Chris, 47, Ansa Nieuwoudt, 45, and Willem, 42. He also raised his grandson, Johan Cilliers, 19.
“Oom Boet was mother and father to him. I have tried talking to Johan but he is in a terrible state of shock,” said Jaco Scholtz.
Johan Cilliers matriculated from Stella High School two years ago and is currently a second-year agriculture student in Potchefstroom.
Niewoudt said her father was very fond of children.
“They always followed him around on the farm.”
She said her father was very active and healthy and regularly ran after the cattle when they had to be herded.
“He was generous and always very good to others, even at a cost to himself,” said Nieuwoudt, who lives in Klerksdorp, on Monday afternoon.
Raubie Malan of Agri Stella described Cilliers as full of life.
Jaco Scholtz said there had been no serious crime in the area over the past year.
He said the farmers and workers suspected that three young men were responsible for the crime.
Workers on a neighbouring farm had apparently come across three young men who were “stoned and drunk”.
Farmers in the area are now following tracks.
Bothma said police are only investigating a murder at this stage.